Sex assault unit opens in Galway

IRELAND’S first amalgamated child, adolescent and adult 24-hour sexual assault service is now up and running in Galway.

The service is the only one of its kind on this island and has come following a protracted campaign on the part of two dedicated doctors who voluntarily set up an out-of-hours service, run from a private hospital and paid for by the HSE on a case-by-case basis.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Joanne Nelson and forensic examiner Dr Roger Derham went to the media last December after the HSE said it would not fund a formal out-of-hours service for children under 14.

Now, thanks to their persistence, a “gold standard” clinic, to serve the HSE western region, is at the forefront of service development in Ireland.

Since January, the service has seen 18 children presenting for examination following alleged sexual abuse.

Dr Nelson said she is “delighted” that young teens and children who have been sexually assaulted can now be examined immediately.

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